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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Why the Screwed-Up Society?


According to the New York Times, “Suicide in the United States has surged to the highest levels in nearly 30 years … with increases in every age group except older adults…. The overall suicide rate rose by 24 percent from 1999 to 2014, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.”

According to a 2015 report by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, “Illicit drug use in the United States has been increasing. In 2013, an estimated 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older — 9.4 percent of the population — had used an illicit drug in the past month. This number is up from 8.3 percent in 2002.”

Of course, everyone is familiar with the mass murders that periodically take place in the United States.

Why all the dysfunctionality? Is that what we would expect from a “free” society?

Nope, but in my humble opinion — and mind you, I’m no psychologist—the notion that America is a free society is a big part of the problem.

Ever since the advent of the welfare-warfare state way of life in the 20th century, Americans convinced themselves — or permitted themselves to be convinced — that as long as they continued believing that America was still a “free enterprise” country, then everything would be fine. The idea has been that people can make their own reality and as long as people believe it, no harm would come of it.

But any psychologist will tell you that living a life that is based on falsehoods and delusions is inevitably going to have adverse consequences, maybe even psychosis.

Consider the fact that all those people who committed suicide, or who on drugs, or who initiated those killing sprees were under the control of the government for some 12 years, either directly in public schools or indirectly with government-approved educational supervision. During that entire time, state officials undoubtedly told them that suicide was bad, drug use was bad, and murder was bad.

So, how come all those people took their own lives, are destroying their lives with drugs, or going out and murdering people? Why didn’t all that control and indoctrination for 12 years work?

Everyone will no doubt call for doubling down in the public schools — telling teachers and administrators to reemphasize that students should just say no to suicide, drugs, and murder.

Unfortunately, no one — except libertarians — will question whether it’s the public schooling system itself that is screwing up people in the head, with its system of conformity and deference to authority.

Ever since the U.S. death machine began killing people in the Middle East, starting in the early 1990s, Americans have felt that so long as the killing is taking place “over there” — so long as photographs of the hundreds of thousands of dead people, including children and wedding parties — were kept out of the mainstream press — all that killing, destruction, and mayhem would have no adverse effect on Americans. Life could just go on as normal, with people going to their PTA meetings, sports events, work, vacations, and church.

I have never thought that was possible.  As I have long maintained, when a government is killing people abroad on a constant basis, day after day, month after month, year after year, and decade after decade, it’s ultimately going to have an emotional, psychological, and spiritual impact on the citizenry living under the government that is doing the killing.

Some people speculate that some of those people who have committed suicide did so for economic reasons, such as losing their job and unable to get another one. But of course, most everyone blames the economic woes on America’s “free enterprise system,” as if a welfare-state, managed-economy, militarily-dominated way of life is “free enterprise.” No one, except us libertarians, points out that economic morass and spiritual depression always comes with socialism and economic interventionism. Just ask anyone who lived in the Soviet Union or who lives in Cuba.

It’s just one massive life of the lie. Since Americans have been inculcated since the first grade (in those government schools) with the notion that they live in a free-enterprise society, it never occurs to them to question whether that belief is consistent with reality. When a libertarian tells them that Cuba, a socialist country, also has Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, income taxation, drug laws, immigration controls, trade restrictions, subsidies, a central bank, an enormous military and intelligence force, and the like, they don’t want to hear it … or they think to themselves, “Wow, Cuba is going free enterprise, just like us.”

Delusions, myths, a life of the lie, a governmental death machine that is killing in the name of “enduring freedom” — how can it all not end up in psychosis and disorder? Why would it surprise anyone that a young person especially would look around and say to himself, “If this is the best there is — if this really is freedom — then I’m checking out”? “Freedom”—or what he has been taught is freedom — just doesn’t look very attractive to him.

Personally, I’m not surprised at the suicides, drug use, and mass murders. I’d be surprised if such things didn’t happen under America’s welfare-warfare state way of life. But then again, I’m a libertarian. I know that a welfare-warfare state is about as far from freedom and free enterprise that one can get.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.